Testimonial: Building Beloved Community

When I think back over the past few years and the extraordinary needs that have arisen out of the pandemic I am thankful that I belong to a church that is practicing inclusion and welcome. And trying to be inclusive and welcoming in a time when we are needing to maintain our distance, wear masks, and not gather in the ways our beloved community normally connects is challenging indeed.

I appreciate the different ways that FPC has worked at maintaining relationships in the community through opening opportunities to join our Sunday morning Adult Formation classes virtually. Last summer we had an in-depth study of the book From Here to Equality, by William Darity and Kirsten Mullen. We were able to invite our brothers and sisters at Judea Reform (and we did invite members of other Christian faith communities, but many were still participating in their own worship traditions on Sunday mornings). That class enabled us to share with each other the ways that we address the poverty and housing issues that affect our local community especially in how we create space in our budgets to provide support. And it helped us understand what true inclusion could look like through a variety of ways to approach reparations.

That study gave all of us who attended a much deeper understanding at how we evaluate where we can be involved in the local Durham community. In doing so with Judea Reform I think it gave both congregations new ideas on how to be more impactful and new ways to keep connected. In learning how we were able to help folks keep their power on or stay in their homes longer without accruing burdensome fees (or even avoiding eviction) it helped me see that we are already having an impact. With this knowledge we can find even more ways to be inclusive in our support of justice measures.

In looking at the words to “A Place at the Table” the words “justice and joy, compassion and peace” really stand out to me. I know that we aren’t perfect and I also know that we are working to be the best we can be. We are working through very difficult issues around equity and inclusion to understand how to be people who invite others in to find “justice and joy, compassion and peace” with open arms and hearts. I have a commitment to help rebuild a world that finally has Inclusion and Equity and feel blessed to be in a congregation that holds me up in that commitment.

— Kathy Krahenbuhl

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